People often ask why credit unions are involved in legislative advocacy.
The answer is simple. If credit unions aren’t at the table, we’re on the table. If we aren’t actively engaged on the policy front, the future of our movement could be in jeopardy. That’s why the Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) is an important tool for credit unions.
CULAC provides financial assistance to credit union-friendly candidates running for office at both the state and federal levels. Having allies in the Legislature and in Congress is valuable. Credit unions are increasingly coming under attack from our competitors. Their biggest target is our not-for-profit tax status.
Credit unions are fundamentally different than banks and this is why their tax structure is not the same. Credit unions are 100% member-owned, which distinguishes them from every other financial institution. Contrary to what the banks say, credit unions pay a number of taxes, including employer, employee, excise, property, motor vehicle, and sales tax, and they are responsible for billions of dollars in consumer benefits. ($16.8 billion in 2018 alone!)
Changing the credit union tax status would be detrimental to our members and the communities we serve. But just last week, 51 bankers associations, including the Maine Bankers Association, sent a letter to Congress calling on lawmakers to re-examine the credit union tax exemption. To counter these types of attacks and push our policy agenda forward, it is more important than ever to have credit union supporters in office.
“CULAC is an important component of our credit union advocacy, which helps us secure and maintain our seat at the table” said Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Governmental Affairs. “I enjoy speaking to credit unions and their employees about the power of CULAC. Attacks like the one we saw last week aren’t going away, which means we need more people supporting CULAC than ever before.”
If you would like to learn more about how you or your credit union can contribute to CULAC, contact the League’s Governmental Affairs team for more information.